Interruption : Writing a Dissident Architecture
Abstract: Interruption: Writing a Dissident Architecture makes a contribution to the fields of writing architecture and dissident architecture. Concerned with developing an ethos of criticality from within, it presents a series of performative writing experiments that are situated in politically charged architectural sites, from public spaces, to institutions, to domestic spaces. My aim is to ask how a dissident architecture could be produced through the practice of writing, specifically by offering an account of the performative acts of various characters who are introduced in the thesis, and who critically inhabit existing architectural sites, interrupt the spatial power relations of those sites, and who thereby construct 'performing grounds'.Writing architecture is developed in this thesis not as writing about architecture, but aims instead to write it, to make it. Writing dissident architecture writes with multiple voices, with many authors, not all of whom are welcomed. It offers significant approaches to a political and critical understanding of architecture. Where architecture in this thesis is understood both as a material structure and as a disciplinary framework in which power can become oppressive, writing architecture, on the other hand, is developed as a ‘minor’ practice that can act upon existing sites, interrupting their ‘major’ power relations. Interruption, developed as a tactic, is what activates architecture to become a performing ground for the act of dissidence. Formulated as a journey the three main parts of the thesis deal with three interrupting tactics: Pause, Cut and Fo(o)l+d, which are applied in relation to three different kinds of political site: 1) spaces of appearance or the spectacle; 2) disciplined spaces understood as sites of impossibility; 3) domestic spaces as displaced loci of subversive political actions. The Pause uses stillness and refusal as a mode of interruption. The Cut interrupts the material and structural continuity of established institutions and creates cracks in those systems. The Fo(o)l+d interrupts surveillance and control by folding in and out of private and public spaces. By introducing a quasi-fictional character to each site, who performs through one of the three tactics of interruption, a performing ground is constructed. Writing architecture forwards this journey across specific sites through which the figure of the dissident emerges.
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